From the Chair

It is hard to believe it is already fall and that a new issue of the newsletter is in the works. It has been a busy couple of months for the Committee on Government Lawyers. The Rules of Professional Conduct Program is set for December 10th. If you have not already registered, now is the time. Take advantage of the special $30 pricing and earn two hours of Professionalism credit.

The Committee has also planned a continuing legal education program for next Spring in conjunction with the Local Government Law Section Council. We hope to present the program in both Springfield and Chicago so that it will be convenient for all government attorneys to attend. The program will cover the recent amendments to FOIA and the Open Meetings Act contained in Public Act 96-542, effective January 1, 2010. One of the featured speakers is Michael Luke, Chief of the Attorney General’s Public Access and Opinions Division. Mr. Luke will provide an update on, and hopefully a practical look at, how the Acts are being implemented through the Attorney General’s Office. I expect to find this session particularly interesting as by the time of the program the comprehensive FOIA amendments will have been in effect for a few months. This will also give us the opportunity to take a look at their practical application.

The program will also include a presentation by Steven Sandvoss, General Counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections. Mr. Sandvoss is slated to speak on election issues, such as when a public body becomes a local political committee triggering the application of the Election Code. Finally, the program will also include a discussion of conflicts for government attorneys. We have specifically asked the presenter to keep in mind that the audience will include attorneys who work for government, not just private practitioners representing local governments, and the discussion should have applications that are relevant to us as well.

We continue with our efforts to identify more ISBA members who are government attorneys. Knowing the full extent of our ranks within the ISBA will help the Committee better address the needs of our membership. I think all of us on the Committee recognize that this will be a continuing effort, however, every little step we take is a step in the right direction. We are also working on some other things that I find very exciting but I will save those for the next newsletter.

As I am writing this at the last minute, I will leave you with a word of wisdom that I need to follow more often: “Don’t procrastinate. Do what needs doing when it needs to be done.”1 I recognize that not all deadlines are met at their last minute because of procrastination but because of other priorities—I am sure you have experienced this—even so, these are words that are useful to keep in mind when procrastination is tempting. ■


1. Life’s Little Instruction Book, 1991, no. 416.

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December 2009Volume 11Number 2PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)